IES Granada
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Kelly Duffey

Major: Spanish, Finance
Minor: Sociology
Hometown: Huntingdon Valley

How did you learn about this opportunity?

I spoke with my academic adviser and she told me about different study abroad options. She said that the Granada program was one of the best because it truly helps you dive into the culture.

Tell us a little bit about your experience.

I am currently half way through my experience, and it has already had an immense impact on my life. I live in a homestay with a mother and two twin girls who are 18 years old. Even though my host mother knows some English, we speak only in Spanish. Everyday I sit down for a long lunch with them and we talk about current events in Spain, funny stories that happened to us that day, or stories of when the girls were growing up. I could not be more content with my choice to live in a homestay. My program gives us many opportunities to connect with local university students, and I have taken advantage of that and am developing friendships with Spaniards. I feel very at home here in Granada, and I hope this experience does not go too fast.

How did this experience impact you academically?

I am taking five challenging, yet rewarding classes through IES Granada. All of my classes are in Spanish, so each week my brain becomes more attuned to the language. My first class is a grammar class to improve my level of writing and speaking. I have a literature class about Garcia Lorca, who is actually from Granada. The literature class has helped expand my vocabulary. I am taking a European Union class that gets into politics and economics. This class will greatly help my studies in business at Penn State. I am also taking an Islamic art class that has introduced me to Islamic customs that I had little knowledge of before. I am also taking a flamenco class. Both of these two art classes have opened my eyes to the beauty of other cultures. I think that learning about diverse cultures on an academic level is just as important as learning about them first hand, because when we talk about culture academically, we can look at the socialization from different perspectives to learn why things are the way they are. I can connect these concepts to what I've learned in my sociology classes at Penn State.

What are your career goals and plans?  How did this experience impact them?

I would like work in inner city real estate. In Philadelphia, there are many Spanish speaking communities who know little English. Many of these neighborhoods are low income areas, therefore I would like to work with Section 8 government assisted housing, and buy real estate in these areas. I would like to be able to communicate effectively with any Spanish speaking tenants I have. I would also like to spend a year or two doing social work in south america.

"There is nothing more rewarding than the process of learning a language."

Would you recommend this experience to other Liberal Arts students?

Stepping out of your comfort zone is a powerful experience. There is nothing more rewarding than the process of learning a language. It already has taught me patience, how to handle failure and keep trying, understanding of difference, and much more.

How has the Paterno Fellows Program had an impact on this experience?

I am beyond grateful for the Paterno Fellows Program for helping students like me. The help I received gave me the opportunity to go on a trip to Morocco planned out by the IES program. This trip was not a touristy trip, it was filled with meaningful discussion with Moroccan students and I had the chance to live in a homestay with a Moroccan family. I learned so much about Arabic culture, and gained a new perspective on current events happening in the world right now.

For more on global opportunities for Liberal Arts students, visit our website. 
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